You’ll want to pick this book up, turn the pages, ponder a recipe or two, and head for kitchen. It will become as essential as eggs and mustard. Which happen to be the key ingredients in her first sauce: The Mother Mayo.

Sauces make our food better, adding flavor, texture, aroma. Yet, making sauces can be a barrier for many of us. Vanessa Seder is an accomplished culinary professional who know a lot, yes a lot, about flavor. Currently, she works in the test kitchen for Stonewall Kitchen. If you ever are on I-95 in Southern Maine, the Stonewall outlet store is a must. An acre of flavor and I’m sure that Vanessa’s touch is on many of the fine Stonewall products.

In other words, Vanessa is someone we can trust. And someone’s who imagination will please us all.

In a new take on sauces, Vanessa explores way to make sauces less intimidating, often employ techniques and ingredients that are novel. This is not a French sauce cookbook. It is a direct departure on another flavorful pathway.

The book has eight chapters, each driven by a dominant flavor or texture:

  • Creamy [mayo]
  • Tangy [vinaigrette]
  • Herby [pesto]
  • Fruity [Pomodoro]
  • Nutty [tahini]
  • Spicy [chili]
  • Chunky [salsa]
  • Confectionary [ganache]

The structure of the book is designed to offer a world-ranging set of alternatives. Each chapter begins with a “mother” recipe, like The Mother Mayo in the that first chapter. Then the subsequent recipes in the chapter offer simple changes, just additions to that mayo, or more complex ideas using the mother as a component of an elegant creation. Here’s the “mayo” family you’ll find in [Secret] Sauces. Quick, efficient, and easy to follow:


Part of the success in the book is speed. It can be a little intimidating to make, say, an aioli from scratch. Here, the Faux Aioli hasyou add tahini to your mother mayo and achieve “aioli” flavor with less effort. It’s a perfect example of Vanessa’s use of unexpected ingredients to achieve “comfort food” flavors.

I’m sure that you’ll be charmed by this book, by its many flavors, and by its graceful presentation of sauce seduction.